What are meditation not!
The following are the examples in which either person does something actively or is not able to go beyond mind. So they are not meditation. One should use active processes to prepare for meditation. Then should go into inactive real meditation. After you know meditation. It becomes natural, effortless. In begin also effortless effort will only bring you to meditation. If no thought occurs naturally in your mind, you are in meditation. If you naturally become observer, witness, owner of your thoughts, you are in meditation. What to do then? To do nothing at all is the only meditational state. If for some moments you become totally inactive by body and mind, the natural process will perform their functions and will bring you to new dimension.
What are meditation not!
- Chanting of any mantra, strotras, naam-smaran or japa may help some people to quieten their mind and bring it to one point of concentration, but it is not meditation. The chanting or any physical –mental verbaling practice makes mind full of the thoughts which they recites repeatedly. Consequently thoughtless state becomes more difficult. If relevant guru in this tradition has knowledge of four vanis 1. Vaikhari, 2. madhyama, 3. pashyanti and 4. para vani practically, then chanting is useful. Otherwise it is useless. Practical knowledge of para vani is useful to bring person to meditation and samadhi.
- Concentration on any one point like trataka is not meditation. The meditation (dhyana) is not concentration (dharana). Meditation is totality (samagrata vs ekagrata). Concentration is to go from bigger area to smaller area. If you concentrate on single point for days or years, you develop forgetfulness or absent-mindedness. Because while concentrating you forget rest of the world. The professors, researchers and topper students concentrate too much on studies. So we find several absent-minded persons among this class. 3-D cards are taste of your ability of being total. If you can find hidden pictures in 3-D cards, you know how to be total. And if you cannot find hidden picture from a 3-D card, you do not know how to be total.
- Contemplation on any one thought or an idea is not meditation. It is dharana-5th only, but not dhyana. It is also a sort of concentration.
- Idol worship (murti puja)- offering of prayers in various forms is not meditation, but dharana only.
- Asanas- twisting and turning the body in various postures and making standstill body in lotus posture (padmasana) – asanas may be good for the body , but it is not meditation. Asanas purifies your first four bodies. So they are important.
- Bio-energy exercise, pranayama, holding breath (kumbhaka) or manipulation of breath in any form may be useful for increasing vitality levels of cellular body but it is not meditation. Pranayama is also useful to develop new dimension of consciousness but it is not meditation.
- Guided relaxation processes and creative visualization may be helpful in relaxing the mind in the beginning but it is not meditation.
- Listening to good instrumental / classical music, as a tool , can be good help in preparation for meditation to begin with but “musical-entertainment” is not mediation. But ideally, singing is meditation. As well as dancing may bring you to meditation. So if you know how to meditate, all your work may become meditation. But in different dimension!
- Singing “bhajanas” (devotional songs) is not meditation, but natural and spontaneous outcome of pleasure, meditative experience, and bliss may be sometimes expressed with devotional songs. E.g. Mira.